WA + FC (Ballston) is an audio mapping of the Ballston area that reimagines the space through the an innovative iPhone app, using GPS to sonically map the area between Wilson Blvd. and Fairfax Drive.
Site: WA + FC (Ballston), an original piece created and developer for Ballston, is the latest venture in “location aware” composition created by brothers and collaborators Hays Holladay and Ryan Holladay, who grew up in the Arlington area and attending elementary school minutes away from the Ballston area. Site: WA + FC (Ballston) is a work that can only be experienced using the iPhone app (available as a free download on the App Store) and within the designated area of Ballston. Pockets of audio are geo-tagged throughout the space so that as the listener traverses the area, the ambient score subtly changes. Having created works for larger public spaces like The National Mall and Central Park, the Holladay brothers have spent the last few years developing the concept that combines audio with one's physical surroundings. The Washington Post has described it as "magical...like using GPS to navigate a dream."
The work is essentially two zones that run along the streets that create the boundaries for the Ballston neighborhood: Fairfax Drive and Wilson Blvd. Fairfax Drive was the thoroughfare that ran through Arlington County over a hundred years ago. It was also home to the Ballston stop of the WA&FC railway, from which the work takes its title. On the other side is Wilson Blvd, which has come to represent change and development. The Holladay's saw these roads as representative of two different parts of Ballston's identity and saw an opportunity to create a work to reflect the changes that have occurred in this area over the past century through a single piece of music that subtly shifts from one space to the other. The sounds associated with Fairfax Dr. are primarily performed on instruments that would have been available in 1900. Those tagged to Wilson Blvd represent a more contemporary pallet. The melodies remain the same, and the changes happen slowly as you move from one space to another, but the streets between these two main roads become a sonic gradient depending on which you're closest to.
Participants will be able to download the app from the App Store, hook up their headphones, and explore the Ballston area in a way they've never heard it before.
Before Site: WA + FC (Ballston), Bluebrain had completed projects for Central Park in New York and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This is their first piece created specifically for an urban district like Ballston.